Juicing 101: How To Get Started Without Going Broke
As an undergraduate with limited time and a small grocery budget, juicing may seem out of your wellness league. Maybe you’ve only recently drunk the [green] kool-aid and wonder how you’ll carry this new practice back to campus. With store-bought juice costing nearly $8 a bottle, price-conscious undergrads know that home juicing is the most economically sound option. Plus, with cold season draining the energies and tissue supplies of campuses nationwide, the need for concentrated vitamins and minerals has never been more necessary.
Here are some ways to juice on campus.
1. First, you need the juicer.
If you don’t have a juicer already, talk to your dorm manager about a “communal juicer” that can stay in the common kitchen. Tout it as a campus health initiative, or commit to hosting weekly juice-a-thons as a way to build community. If you’re an undergrad, you probably know the weight these phrases can carry in residence life offices. If you live in an apartment or house, check eBay and Amazon for reduced-price machines or ask your roommates if they'll chip in with you. Most likely, lots of older family members have juicers lying around in their basements and will gladly hand one over.
2. Prep the vegetables beforehand.
Buy your week’s worth of produce, wash and chop, and store in freezer gallon bags by the day. Dedicate space in your fridge just for these bags and keep them within easy reach. Critics may argue that slicing veggies prior to juicing loses nutrients, but if this is what you have to do to make sure you juice, then do it.
3. Schedule a juicing spree.
I prefer to juice on mornings when my first class isn’t until the afternoon. That means I can enjoy a fresh-pressed juice for breakfast and have a fridge stocked for the upcoming weekend. Pick the time that's best suited for you, even if it means revving up the juicer at unconventional hours.
4. Freeze those juices.
Freezing juice preserves most of the nutrients as long as you freeze it directly after juicing. Fill the top of your container (I use mason jars) with water if there is an extra space and squeeze in a little bit of lemon. (The acid will help preserve the juice). Seal the jar and store in your freezer immediately, then move on to making the next juice.
5. It’s OK to buy the cheap veggies.
A recent study from Stanford demonstrates that there's little evidence that conventional produce poses more harm to your health than its organic counterpart. I’ve had enough $100 trips to Whole Foods to know that if I want to juice consistently, I'll have to decide what's more important: that I get my green juice everyday or go broke to make sure that it’s organic? If your budget is tight, avoid pricey organics and wash your fruits and vegetables really well before you juice.
6. Grocery shop in the dining hall.
I got in the habit of stealing a few green apples every time I visited the campus dining hall, or filling a Tupperware container with fresh spinach. Dining halls often employ local food initiatives that buy produce from local farms, or even from campus gardens. Find out if your campus has a university garden!
7. Don’t skimp on cleaning up.
The most annoying part of juicing is the actual cleaning process. Make sure you have room to store the wet equipment, or make a space in your dorm or apartment for it. Schedule your juicing prep and actual juicing so that you don’t have to dart off to class or a meeting immediately.
I’ve mentioned nutrient loss enough times that you might think, “What’s the point if I’m sabotaging the nutrients?” But less nutrient-rich green juice still beats no green juice.
Before you know it, you’ll be reaching for that ABC juice instead of coffee to keep you awake for a midnight library run. Plus, liver detoxification is a major benefit of juicing, which means that your hangover will be no match for a fridge stocked with green juice. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, the concentrated vitamins and minerals in juice will keep your immune system running, your brain functions alert, and your skin clear. What more could you need as an undergrad?